"What's my calling?"
That question can wrap us up in mountains of fear. It can befuddle and frustrate. It can freeze us and render us utterly ineffective.
Let's remove all the mystery surrounding this ambiguous calling that many of us search a lifetime for--and never seem to find...
Here's our calling: To turn to the woman next to us and care for her.
Often we seek out some mysterious, mountainous destiny to strap on as our "calling" and when we don't readily see one that's the size of Mt Everest, we think we've missed it or that we need to keep searching. But, what if I told you that the people we encounter today are "our calling"?
What if I explained that each one of us, regardles of our day-to-day, regardless of whether or not we carry a lofty title such as speaker, teacher, missionary, or preacher is called to relational ministry? Would that change how we see ourselves and our responsibilities?
Would we wake up each day with a renewed sense of purpose? Would we see ourselves on the forefront of the Lord's Army? When we open our eyes and put our feet on the floor, would we be mentally suiting up in the full armor of God and readying for battle? Would we awake each morning with a greater sense of urgency and purpose?
While attending a women's ministry conference recently, the speaker said words that rang true deep within me, but that I hadn't been able to string together properly myself:
"We're all called to relational ministry. We are called to turn to the woman next to us and care for her."
Mic drop moment.
Kerry, the speaker that day, put into words what had been tumbling around inside my heart for a while. One of the things I love about studying Jesus in the Bible is how He never went for the glamour or the prestige. As it says in the Word, He could have called 10,000 angels...but He didn't. Instead, He chose the more subdued, meek approach and it had revolutionary, eternal, and farther-than-we-could-ever-imagine results. Thousands of years later, thousands of miles away, people today are still being brought to their knees because of a carpenter-turned-teacher named Jesus of Nazareth.
While Jesus was most definitely (and still is!) the Son of God, He was also fully man (Hebrews 2). He had the same emotions, feelings, and struggles that you and I do. He also had the same access to the Father that you and I now have through the Holy Spirit. What won people over was what He offered them--He offered them God. He offered them freedom from bondage, physical and otherwise. He gave them the greatest news they'd ever heard...they had access to grace through Him. Once people met Him, they were never the same.
So, our calling is to share the very same thing that Jesus did: Jesus Himself. Grace came through Jesus and we are ambassadors of that grace. We have the power, ability, and commission to share the path to grace with others.
Where do we start?
We can read about how Jesus taught and fed the 5,000 and feel hopelessly inadequate, but if we really study the scriptures and Jesus' ministry, we'll see many more instances of Jesus meeting with people in their homes, as He walked along, one-on-one, in small gatherings, in the community, etc. He didn't create a venue, promote it, and sell tickets to preach to the masses. The people were there because they came to Him--they were drawn to Him. Perhaps they'd heard about His penchant to use the unexpected and mix with the undesireables. Word-of-mouth traveled about His unusual methods and the healings and people wanted to see for themselves.
It's the same for us. We start in our own home. We begin with those we're closest to: mom, dad, husband, children, siblings, etc. Then, we branch out. Often, as we introduce others to the Lord through Jesus, and they encounter the Lord, they will tell others.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, 'Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.' So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
Jesus healed this man and the others were amazed. The man was so moved (and who wouldn't be after being rid of a "Legion" of demons?) that he begged Jesus to take him along, so that he could preach with Jesus. Jesus' response?
Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you...
Did you see it?
Jesus told him to GO HOME, tell "his own people" first. So the man did. In fact, the man began to "proclaim in the Decapolis [The Decapolis was a group of ten cities on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire in the southeastern Levant] how much Jesus had done for him, and they were all amazed" (Mark 5:20).
Sometimes the Lord will call us to far off places (like Jonah being sent to Nineveh), but sometimes God calls us to share God and all He's done for us right where we are (like Noah, who was called to build an ark in prep for an event that had never happened before, and ridiculed by his neighbors the entire time. Also the Samaritan woman who ran back to her town to tell everyone she'd met the Messiah).
Jesus didn't begin His traveling ministry until He was in His thirties, but the small amount the Bible tells us about His childhood says this in Luke 2:51-52:
Then he went down to Nazareth with them [His parents] and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.
I looked up the meaning of the original language for all of the underlined words. Instead of typing it all out, check out the pictures from Blue Letter Bible's interlinear concordance (which I HIGHLY recommend if you want to really dig into scripture):
Jesus found favor with God and man. He was liked. He brought joy to others. He had holy influence--and let's not skim over that word "holy." Holy, as you may know, means "set apart," "of God." Jesus was liked, He was wise, He grew in His abilities and in years because He was set apart by God. He was preparing for ministry by being in ministry. Seems like it may be a circular definition, but He was preparing for branching out by learning all could and serving those who were right where He was.
Sometimes we are so eager to get to the calling or the assignment that the Lord has for us that we miss the assignment we're in. God is efficient. Surely He can use our training ground for His glory. In fact, He specializes in using us when we are weak (2 Corinthians 12). One man in His thirties, who was raised as a carpenter in a lowly city, was used by the Lord to save all of mankind. He trained, discipled, and built a community with a small group of others who followed after and did the same. Because of those men (eleven to start), I can sit here today typing this out to you. Because of this One Man, I have the hope of eternal life and the opportunity to present that hope to everyone in my path, glamorous or not.
Ultimately, our "calling" is not about us. Our calling is to share Jesus with others and afford them the opportunity to meet Him. God doesn't need us for this task, but He graciously allows us the opportunity to be used for Him. When we look at calling through this lense, we can be more patient and open to being used where the Lord has us currently, no matter how big or small it seems.
*This blog consists of the writer's perspectives and viewpoints of Scripture. Man is fallible, but God is not. We strongly encourage you to study the Scripture for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in your understanding.
This space is reserved for Founder Mandy's perspectives and viewpoints of Scripture. Man is fallible, but God is not. It's strongly encouraged that you study the Scripture for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in your understanding.
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